Hurricane Lane weakens slighty, shelters open in West Hawaii

  • Three-day forecast track for Hurricane Lane issued 11 a.m. Wednesday. (CPHC/Special to West Hawaii Today)

KAILUA-KONA — Four shelters have opened in West Hawaii as Hurricane Lane moves closer to the Hawaiian Islands.

Rain bands associated with Hurricane Lane have began moving ashore this morning along the Big Island’s southern with widespread rain expected to move over the island throughout today with Kailua-Kona likely to see effects starting in the afternoon and evening, Chevy Chevalier, a forecaster with the Honolulu-based National Weather Service, said.

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Rain has already began to fall in areas of Ka‘u and Puna. Light rainfall was occurring around 2 p.m. in the Kailua-Kona area.

“A lot of it is kind of being eaten up by the mountains – Mauna Loa and Maunakea, but some of these showers, of course, are going to spread on over to the Kona area,” Chevalier said late Wednesday morning. “So, as Lane moves west-northwest, you’re going to start to see more and more rain as you go through the day today, and it will be heavy at times.”

Chevalier estimated that it will take more than a day for the storm to pass Hawaii Island. Rain is likely to be the biggest concern though some wind can be expected as the storm moves by to the west of the island.

“This is just the beginning,” he said, “It will take 24-48 hours for this thing to be in a position to the north-northwest, to where the Big Island doesn’t have to worry about it anymore.”

A hurricane warning issued Tuesday evening remains in effect for Hawaii and Maui counties. A hurricane watch is in effect for Kauai and Oahu.

As of 2 p.m. today, Lane was a Category 4 hurricane circulating 150 mph winds some 275 miles south of Kailua-Kona and 215 miles south of South Point, according to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center. Hurricane-force winds extended outward up to 40 miles from the center of Lane and tropical storm-force winds extended outward up to 140 miles.

The storm was headed west-northwest at 8 mph. Forecasters expect a turn toward the northwest on Wednesday, followed by a turn toward the north on Thursday. A turn back toward the west is expected Saturday.

“On the forecast track, the center of Lane will move very close to or over the main Hawaiian Islands from Thursday through Saturday,” forecasters cautioned.

Steady weakening is forecast to begin today, but the storm is expected to remain a dangerous hurricane as it approaches the islands.

Current forecast models call for 20-30 mph winds with gusts reaching 55 mph for leeward areas of Hawaii Island from North Kona to about Hawaiian Ocean View Estates. The potential remains for winds to reach up to 73 mph. Rainfall accumulations are expected to be around 6 to 10 inches although some points could see higher amounts.

Southern and southeastern areas of the island can expect 20-30 mph winds with gusts reaching 55 mph. The potential remains for winds to reach up to 73 mph. Rainfall could total more than 2 feet in areas of Ka‘u.

South Kohala is forecast to see 20-30 mph winds with gusts reaching up to 50 mph. The potential remains for winds to reach up to 73 mph. Four to 8 inches of rain, with locally higher amounts, can be expected.

For areas of North Kohala and Hamakua, forecasters are expecting 20-30 mph winds with gusts to 55 mph. The potential remains for winds to reach up to 73 mph. Some 18-24 inches, with locally higher amounts, could fall as the storm passes.

A flash flood watch went into effect this morning for the entire state through Friday night. Forecasters cautioned that the most torrential rainfall can be expected as Lane makes its closest approach and it could lead to major flash flooding, landslides and mudslides. Tornadoes and large waterspouts will also be possible, mainly along and to the right of the track of the hurricane.

A high surf warning is also in effect until 6 a.m. Friday for south-facing shores of Hawaii Island. Wave heights of 15 to 25 feet are forecast with the largest surf expected along the island’s southern and the southeastern coasts. A storm surge of up to 4 feet in anticipated.

The county has established an emergency command post at the West Hawaii Civic Center in Kailua-Kona.

Hawaii County Civil Defense reports that four emergency shelters have been opened in North Kohala, South Kohala, North Kona and South Kona due to the potential effects of Hurricane Lane. No mandatory evacuation has been ordered.

These shelters are open for convenience, and there is no mandatory evacuation at this time, Civil Defense said. The shelters are available if people need to relocate.

The following shelters are open

– Hookena Elementary School, 86-4355 Mamalahoa Highway, Captain Cook

– Kamehameha Park Hisaoka Gym, 54-382 Kamehameha Park Road, Kapaau *Pet Friendly

– Kealakehe High School, 74-5000 Puohulihuli St., Kailua-Kona *Pet Friendly

– Waikoloa Elementary & Middle School, 68-1730 Hooko St., Waikoloa

Those who choose to relocate to a shelter should bring a three-day supply of medications and pet food (if applicable). Those who plan to stay overnight should bring personal blankets and pillows if possible.

Closures announced ahead of Hurricane Lane’s arrival:

– All public schools and DOE offices in Hawaii and Maui counties will be closed through Friday, according to the state Department of Education. All after-school activities programs are also canceled through the weekend. Schools and offices will reopen Monday unless otherwise noted.

– All public charter schools will be closed through Friday.

– Hawaii County officials have closed all beach parks, from South Point to North Kohala, until further notice. All pavilion and camping permits have been canceled. South Point Road, from its junction with Kamaoa Road to South Point, is closed to all traffic. All County of Hawaii offices will be open today during normal business hours, however.

– All state parks will close Thursday morning, the Department of Land and Natural Resources said.

– All public libraries will also be closed through Friday. In addition, all library programs statewide scheduled from today to Sunday were canceled.

– State offices on the Big Island and Maui will be closed today through Friday.

– Courthouses on the Big Island will be closed today through Friday.

– All University of Hawaii schools on the Big Island also will be closed today until further notice.

– The Kahuku unit of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park will be closed today and Thursday. All programs are canceled.

– Puukohola Heiau National Historical Site is closed until further notice. Park managers will assess conditions Saturday morning before reopening the park.

– Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park is closed today and Thursday. Park managers will assess conditions Friday morning before reopening the park.

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– Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park is closed today and Thursday. Park managers will assess conditions Friday morning before reopening the park.

– All branches of Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union are closed due to severe weather.

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